Salome Bey, Canada’s first lady of the blues, dies at 86

Salome Bey

Singer Salome Bey, known as Canada’s first lady of the blues, has died. She was 86.

Born in Newark, New.Jersey., on Oct. 10, 1933, Bey toured the United States., Europe and Canada as part of the sibling act – Andy & the Bey Sisters.

In 1964, Bey moved to Toronto where she played the jazz club circuit, and soon made her mark on Canada’s music and theatre scenes.

She  wrote and starred in “Indigo,” a cabaret show on the history of Black music, which won two Dora Mavor Moore Awards.

Salome Bey

She also earned a Grammy nomination for her work on the cast album of the Broadway show, “Your Arms Too Short to Box with God.”

She recorded two albums with renowned jazz pianist Horace Silver, and released albums of her live performances with the Montreal Jubilation Gospel Choir and at the Montreux Jazz Festival.

Other accolades include being made an honorary member of the Order of Canada in 2005, a 1992 Toronto Arts Award and  in 1996, Bey received the Martin Luther King Jr. award for lifetime achievement from the Black Theatre Workshop of Montreal, Canada’s longest-running Black theatre company.

Bey’s late husband, Howard Berkeley Matthews, was one of the original founders and owners of The Underground Railroad, a  well known  restaurant on Toronto’s Bloor Street East.

Salome began showing signs of dementia in 2004 and lived at the Lakeside Long-Term Care Centre in Toronto until her death

Bey leaves her two daughters and her son.